Jimmy Ballgame is Back
It appears that Jim Edmonds will be joining the club down in Jupiter, Florida this spring to don the #15 jersey once more. However, it will not be as a player. I know, I know. I miss seeing him manning the grass in centerfield. We all do. His playing days might be done but that does not mean that Edmonds is finished in St. Louis.
Reports from the Post-Dispatch‘s Joe Strauss suggest that Edmonds will be serving as an instructor during Spring Training. There remains the possibility that Edmonds could possibly advise the Cardinals “in a consultant role to general manager John Mozeliak.” Who would not love that idea?
It’s not just Edmonds that is coming back but retired closer Ryan Franklin as well. Franklin gets a lot of grief for blowing games towards the end of his career but he’s coming back to the club as a scout/special assistant. According to Strauss’ report, Franklin is essentially serving the role that Mike Matheny served until being named as the Cardinals manager.
It gets better. Ozzie Smith does not have the rift with Mike Matheny as he did with retired manager Tony La Russa. He’ll be down in Jupiter helping out as will Hall of Fame manager Whitey Herzog. It goes without saying that Spring Training regulars (also Hall of Famers) Lou Brock, Bob Gibson and Red Schoendienst will be in Jupiter as well.
As a fan of the Cardinals, it is very exciting to see Edmonds coming back to the club in the capacity of serving as an instructor. Maybe this will one day lead to him sitting on the bench as a coach? It’s wishful thinking on my part since I was a big fan of Jimmy Ballgame when he played for St. Louis. Yes, it did hurt me when he signed with Chicago but when he came back to the Cardinals prior to last season, I was able to wear my Edmonds jersey once more with no regrets. Forgive and forget as one may but you can never hate a guy that did so much for the Cardinals.
It excites me to see that Ozzie Smith giving back as well. He never should have been platooning during his final season. That was Tony’s wrongdoing though. They never had the best of friendships. I remember my first game at Busch Stadium in 1996. Ozzie, to my dismay, was not playing that day.
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